Worcester, Plural Mother

Alicia, young mother, with firm steps
crosses Kelly Square.
She is not alone. She knows it.
A web of people burns in the hours of this laborious city.
Sweating her life away at Table Talk Pies
she sweetens her little daughter’s days.
Far away
Alicia left the desert of despair.
full of dreams, she confronts challenging mornings,
harvesting hopes under the migrant sun
that warms her life.

Ameh, Thiang, Assad, Ngyen, Perez, Rodriguez,
Immigrant youths, despite their roots
conjugate colorful memories
in the common language they babble
in ESL classrooms
while polishing their differences with strange phonemes:
Woosta—Weesta—Weester—they say, and laugh.
Hogar—Nyumbani—Nhá—Home—they say, and cry.

Mrs. Benson and Mrs. Zenon plant spring seeds
in each new citizen’s latent eyes. Plural sons and daughters,
newcomers, refugees
with invisible slashes on the skin of their lives,
with unnamed shelter experiences,
with untold stories and solitudes,
with silence that echoes
in the solid, flag-draped walls of the New Citizen Program.

Something more than flags waves in Worcester’s wind:
Worcester’s deep heart widens
with Father Miguel Bafaro’s legacy
embracing us at Centro Las Americas.

Vigorous, hopeful, perennial towers stand
summer after summer, nurturing lives at Plumley Village;
a valley of hopes sprouts at Great Brook Valley.
Early school buses
―plenty of dreams—crown Worcester’s streets with culture
while hardworking parents burden their bones
through multiple shifts
honoring the bread they bring to their tables, with dignity…

Meanwhile, the City of Worcester
walks toward South Main Street,
south of hope.
She stops. Looks up.
Looks forward,
embraces them all
like any tender, loving Mother.


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